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The mysticism of Mount Athos

When one sails around Mount Athos, the first thing they experience is a deep sense of spirituality which permeates one’s being.  The view of the monasteries hanging off the steep slopes frees the spirit and overwhelms the body with unparalleled energy.

Athos in Greek mythology is the name of one of the Gigantes that challenged the Greek gods during the Gigantomachia. Athos threw a massive rock against Poseidon which fell in the Aegean sea and became Mount Athos. According to another version of the story, Poseidon used the mountain to bury the defeated giant.

It is a mountainous area with the peaks reaching over 2000m and is surrounded by rough dangerous seas where several naval disasters took place in the ancient times.  

Since at least the 8th century Mount Athos also known as Holly Mountain developed monastic traditions and became one of the most important centres of Christian Orthodoxy. It is currently an autonomous polity, home to 20 monasteries. Near 2000 monks form all over the world live an ascetic life in the “Garden of Virgin Mary” as they call it, isolated from the rest of the world either as part of the monastic groups or in little huts perched on the cliffs where they spend their days meditating. Although Mount Athos is inaccessible to women and entrance for men follows strict procedures the mysticism and tranquillity it emanates, transcends the strict boundaries with the outside world and permeates the entire Sithonia peninsular seating across it.  

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